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Questions tagged [expansion]

{expansion} is about expanding tokens, including the manipulation of expansion order and the suppressing of expansion.

267
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3answers
24k views

What is the difference between Fragile and Robust commands?

So I've read a few times about this, the “moving arguments” and all that. But what does it really mean? Could someone explain in a few words what is going on at the TeX level, what is the difference ...
178
votes
5answers
42k views

When to use \edef, \noexpand, and \expandafter?

I'm quite happy hacking TeX macros and cobbling together bits and pieces from different style files to suit my own ends, but I have a suspicion that my resulting hacks are not quite as elegant as they ...
54
votes
7answers
11k views

LaTeX macro expander

Is it possible to have LaTeX (or another program) to expand a the macros in a .tex file, and output the expanded LaTeX source? If no such program exists: are LaTeX macros processed simply as string ...
97
votes
3answers
9k views

Showing the bibliographic entry in a popup when you hover over the citation key

I thought it would be useful to have bibliographic entries displayed as a tooltip so readers are not interrupted by following hyperlinks or trying to find the Bibliography, so I created the following ...
73
votes
3answers
2k views

Why isn't everything expandable?

TeX's macro processor does its work in a process called expansion. For an input stream of tokens, the macro processor repeatedly expands them until non-expandable tokens remain. The resulting stream ...
66
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the difference between \let and \edef?

When you write \edef\a{\b} \let\a\b the results are often identical. What is the difference between these two commands? When do they behave the same? When do they not? (The question isn't for me; ...
63
votes
3answers
2k views

Advantages and disadvantages of fully expandable macros

As I currently understand them, fully-expandable macros are analogous to pure/effect-free functions in functional programming. Correspondingly, things that are not expandable, such as \def, are ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Expanding (edef) a lipsum command?

Just trying to debug some stuff, and I thought about 'expanding' a \lipsum[1-2] statement using \edef into a new command (that would contain the "raw" text); strangely I cannot get it to work; this ...
27
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7answers
2k views

Are there purely expandable variants of \MakeUppercase?

\MakeUppercase and \uppercase use TeX's uccode, and they are not purely expandable. Say, \edef\temp{\MakeUppercase{abc}} will fail. Sometimes purely expandable macros are very useful. They are ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

Basics of parsing

I'm trying to master the art of parsing text one character at a time. The following is what I've discovered so far. Is this as good as it gets? I would really prefer not to do all those \edefs as ...
9
votes
3answers
301 views

Appending active and expansion sensitive characters to a macro

This question comes up pretty often when people want to build tables with empty columns or similarly building up some active characters inside a macro hoping to expand them at the right time right ...
35
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2answers
1k views

Why do we need eleven expandafters to expand four tokens in the right order?

In Appendix D - Dirty Tricks Knuth gives an example of expanding four tokens in the right order by using eleven \expandafter commands. Here, is the code slightly adapted for to-morrow! \tracingmacros=...
26
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4answers
986 views

Can one define an expandable command that removes control sequences from its argument?

I am trying to create an expandable command that accepts a single argument that may contain control sequences, and expands to that same argument with all control sequences and braces removed. That is: ...
16
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1answer
1k views

Why is \input not expandable?

In latex.ltx I found \def\input{\@ifnextchar\bgroup\@iinput\@@input} where \@@inputis expandable. I would like to know if there is an expandable version of \input. The problem comes from an example ...
69
votes
4answers
5k views

What is “expansion”?

I'm relatively new to (La)TeX, but I have a reasonable amount of experience with computational programming languages. Until I began learning (La)TeX, I'd never heard of "expansion"... So, what is "...
32
votes
2answers
9k views

Expanding arguments before macro call

I've been banging my head against this for days. I have a macro which takes a macro name and its arguments. It then re-arranges the arguments a bit and then calls the passed macro with the re-arranged ...
29
votes
3answers
762 views

Why the \expandafter\@firstoftwo idiom?

I see a lot of macros which are conditional tests followed by a {true}{false} pair defined so that they result in either: \expandafter\@firstoftwo or \expandafter\@secondoftwo Why are these \...
13
votes
2answers
924 views

Concurrently interleaving execution of Lua and TeX in LuaTeX

The usual way to interleave Lua and TeX in generating documents is by invoking Lua from Tex through the \directlua facility and generate Tex from Lua using tex.print(). For example, consider the ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Censor text spanning multiple lines

I'd like to censor or hide some text while replacing it with the appropriate amount of white-space. The replacement text cannot be searchable. The text to be hidden usually exists in the LR mode. The ...
24
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2answers
2k views

Minimal \protected@edef example

I recently came across \protected@edef in the/a LaTeX2e source. Can anyone give me a minimal or simple example, where I need this? I know this has to do with fragile commands/robustness, but I am ...
13
votes
3answers
513 views

How can I know the number of expandafters when appending to a csname macro?

I am looking for an informative answer here. If I want to append to a macro, I have a couple of options, each depending on whether I want the items fully expanded, partially expanded (a certain number ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Expandable version of \InputIfFileExists or \IfFileExists

From this question: Cannot use \toprule when doing \input inside tabular -- why? I know that everything inside the tabular environment should better be expandable. The MWE below suggests that \...
11
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2answers
2k views

On unprotecting (expanding) \protected macros (or, “the space after command name”)

I quite often come into a situation, where I need to obtain some text produced by a package macro as a string, like in say: Expanding (edef) a lipsum command? How do I "unprotect" an ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

How to do \scantokens inside \edef without triggering “Runaway definition”

I'm trying to find a way to use the e-TeX \scantokens command inside [the equivalent of] an \edef (well, actually an \xdef, but presumably this does not make any real difference since that's just the \...
68
votes
1answer
2k views

A LaTeX log analyzer application (visualizing TeX expansion)

Consider the following MWE, test.tex: \documentclass[12pt]{article} \begin{document} \tracingassigns=1 \tracingmacros=1 \def\aaa{something} \def\bbb{else \aaa, else} \edef\ccc{third \bbb, level} ...
30
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4answers
4k views

On testing two fully expanded character strings for equality

I know three macros that test two fully expanded character strings for equality: \ifthenelse{\equal{<op1>}{<op2>}}{<true>}{<false>} (ifthen package) \IfStrEq{<op1>}{<...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Is there a LaTeX/TeX preprocessor/inliner that replaces only selected macros with their definitions?

I have the following situation: Like most LaTeX users that write much, I have my own header files where the packages I use normally are required and the macros I use often are defined. So if I write ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Expandable full expansion of tokens that preserves catcodes

Is it possible to fully expand tokens in an expandable manner and preserves category codes? I'd like to do this just using pdfTeX. I'm looking for something that would work like this: \def\foo{foo} \...
27
votes
5answers
829 views

Can one define a '\superexpandafter{n}' that would expand to 2^n-1 '\expandafter's?'

This question was inspired by comment banter in this question. See title.
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Highlighting line ranges in a lstlisting: partial solution, but expansion issues

In my quest for a better solution for How to change appearance of a particular line when using \lstincludelisting, I came across the linebackground= option Martin Scharrer added to the listings ...
12
votes
1answer
427 views

Text being output when none should be

I am confused as to why the MWE below produces any black text. As the code is below, the output is: However, if you comment out the \IfStrEq line then it works fine and the black text goes away? \...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Save current value of counter in a command

I would like to define kind of an own index, that collects certain information and one counter value - in the following small example the \addstuff-command that may get the value of a counter as its ...
12
votes
4answers
378 views

Expandably change letter case and use inside \csname, without a package

I want to change the letter-case of a single character argument, and use that changed letter inside a \csname. And I want to do it without an additional package. For example, I want to pass a macro ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Expand after all that stuff?

Often I find myself in the need of expanding some macro, whose contents should be given as an argument to another command. The usual solution is to invoke some \expandafter concoctions to somehow ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Tricks to make macros expandable

Expandable macros are useful (I find working in the lion's mouth super cool). But they are difficult to write. Can more experienced users give hints that help achieve expandability? For example, we ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Problem with environment expansion and the Tikz external library.

I've created my own environment mytikz, which basically looks like this (full MWE): \documentclass[a4paper]{article} \usepackage{tikz} \usetikzlibrary{external} \newenvironment{mytikz}{%begin code ...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

renewcommand in a newcommand

I have a command \putansline{1}{2} that inserts 1 line of dots and prints the total score as [2]. I want to define a new command that if issued, will redefine this command so that it prints only the ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Can (pdf)LaTeX recognize text strings and replace (expand) them?

I'd like LaTeX to replace e^ with \mathrm{e}^. I know I could just make a macro \e that does this, but I know I'll forget using it.. Can LaTeX find and replace and replace letter combinations (I don'...
25
votes
4answers
816 views

Expandable (quick) sort array macro?

I'm trying to implement a (quick) sort algorithm. Here is what I can do : \documentclass[preview, border=7mm]{standalone} \usepackage{pgffor} % \push{xs}{\i} add \i in the array \xs \def\push#1#2{...
22
votes
2answers
472 views

Get the lion to run in loops. Tersely

Various constructions can cause TeX (aka the lion) to go into an infinite loop. The simplest example is \def~{~}~, which defines ~ to expand to itself, then expands it. Now, if we exclude macro ...
7
votes
1answer
572 views

Use \csname … \endcsname to compute the starred-version of some command

I want to define some commands declaring paired delimiters using the mathtools package in LaTeX. For example, \paren{...} should result in \left(...\right), whereas \paren[Big]{...} should give \Bigl(....
21
votes
2answers
283 views

\( \) don't work with TOC?

If I write this line of code \subsection{Ranger \( n \) boules distinguables dans \( M \) boîtes} I obtain an error over the second \) (./Probabilité.toc ./Probabilité.toc:8: LaTeX Error: Bad math ...
30
votes
2answers
5k views

What does \begingroup\expandafter…\endgroup do?

I often see code of the following form in package implementations (this example is from the LaTeX3 sources): \begingroup\expandafter\expandafter\expandafter\endgroup \expandafter\ifx\csname directlua\...
28
votes
4answers
1k views

Why isn't a command defined by \newcommand with an optional argument expandable?

In trying to fix a problem with a nested macro repeatedly calling itself, I tried expanding the inner call before passing it as an argument to the outer one. This failed miserably because the macro ...
34
votes
3answers
4k views

How to know whether or not we need \expandafter?

The following is quoted from Peter Grill's answer on question LaTeX dynamic macro definition. The \expandafter is requried as the \newcommand needs to be dealt with after the \csname. As a ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

How to add a hook to a macro

LaTeX uses hooks extensively, one method employed is the command g@addto@macro. It is defined in source2e as: \long\def\g@addto@macro#1#2{% \begingroup \toks@\expandafter{#1#2}% \xdef#1{\...
20
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2answers
1k views

Could someone further elucidate expansion, catcodes, and scantokens…?

In response to my question "With TikZ is it possible to pass the node content through a preprocessor?", @MarkWibrow suggested a solution using \scantokens. {\catcode`\_=13 \gdef_{\rule[-1pt]{0.75em}{...
14
votes
4answers
808 views

Create a capitalized macro token using \csname

Two things I understand and one thing I don't: I often use \csname to create user-defined tokens. For instance, the following code uses \expandafter to expand everything between \csname and \...
10
votes
1answer
764 views

“Flatten” macros prior to sharing LaTeX file

Is there a way/an existing tool to process a LaTeX source document such that for a given list of macro definitions (using \newcommand), calls to those macros are replaced by their expanded version? ...
14
votes
3answers
439 views

Expansion of first token in a tabular cell

Background I currently do some work on the collcell package which collects the content of a tabular/array cell and provides it to a user defined macro, e.g. using >{\collectcell\mymacro}c<{\...